Music: Edgardo Donato – Lyrics: Celedonio Flores – (1926)

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Tango originated in Buenos Aires poor neighbourhoods – la Boca, the harbour and the suburbs, las ‘arrabales’. It came about as a way for immigrants to express their longing for everything and everyone they had left behind. Tango is also synonymous with immigrants’ widespread disarray when they realised that the harsh reality of Argentina couldn’t be any further from their dreams of ‘making it big’ in the Americas.

Tango, the music, the lyrics, the dancing is the expression of their personal and collective suffering. No doubt they saw it as their most treasured ‘posession’.

In the early 1900’s, the ‘rich boys’ from Buenos Aires high society, after despising tango, adopted it like there was no tomorrow. It is quite easy to picture the resentment towards this new generation of tango dancers. As they started to flock to the dancefloor, with their money and good manners, no doubt their every action was scrutinised and criticised.

There are quite a few songs on the theme of the rich boy who ‘buys’ his way into tango, but understands nothing of its essence and its feelings. Muchacho is one of these. Another song, famous for its lyrics and its flamboyant interpretation by Castillo is Así se baila el tango.

Muchacho has been translated by Tanguito, Argentine Tango Academy in London. If you feel have any comment or have other interpretations of the lyrics, please feel free to share your opinion, we’d love to hear what you think. :)

Nathalie, Tanguito

The music

The lyrics

Muchacho que porque la suerte quiso
vivís en un primer piso
de un palacete central,
que pa’ vicios y placeres,
para farras y mujeres
disponés de un capital.

Muchacho
que no sabés el encanto
de haber derramado llanto
sobre un pecho de mujer;
y no sabés qué es secarse

en una timba y armarse
para volverse a meter;

Que decís que un tango rante
no te hace perder la calma
y que no te llora el alma
cuando gime un bandoneón;
que si tenés sentimiento
lo tenés adormecido
pues todo lo has conseguido
pagando como un chabón.

Decime
si en tu vida pelandruna,
bajo la luz de la Luna
o si no bajo un farol,
no te has sentido poeta
y le has dicho a una pebeta
que ella es más linda que el Sol.

Decime
si conocés la armonía,
la dulce policromía
de las tardes de arrabal,
cuando van las fabriqueras
tentadoras y diqueras
bajo el sonoro percal…

Boy, you are so lucky
to live on the desired 1st floor
of a little palace in town,
you, who for vice and pleasures,
for parties and women
have lots of cash to splash.

Boy,
you don’t know the charm
of spilling tears
on a woman’s chest;
and you don’t know what it’s like to dry out
at a gambling hall and then pluck up
the courage to start betting again.

Can you say that a shameless tango
doesn’t make you lose your cool,
and that your soul doesn’t secretly cry
when a bandoneon wails…
If you have any feelings,
they’re well numbed,
because everything you’ve achieved,
you’ve bought like a twit.

Tell me
if in your miserable life,
you’ve ever stood under the moonlight
or a street lamp,
and feeling like a poet,
haven’t told a chick,
that she was prettier than the sun.

Tell me
if you know the harmony
of the sweet multi-coloured
evenings in the suburbs,
when the factory girls pass by,
tempting and vain
in their rustling skirts…